Most people who know the story of Ray Kroc are totally amazed that he started to build the restaurant chain while he was in his 50’s and he proceeded to change the way America consumed food, and built the world’s largest fast food restaurant. Today, we all recognize the Golden Arches. Not long ago there was a great Hurricane and flood in Houston and on the ground in one of the towns in the aftermath laid a set of golden arches which had fallen – everyone watching knew immediately what they were. The brand that Ray Kroc created is perhaps the most well-known franchise brand in world history.
The other day an acquaintance and I were discussing entrepreneurship, and I was asked; “Did you see the movie “The Founder” about Ray Kroc? A must see for you. Shows another side of Kroc and now I am curious your thoughts as it really made Kroc look arrogant and uncaring.”
I was told I should go see it after I replied I hadn’t yet and said; “I will” and then I went on to add; we must realize that movie makers and script writers are VERY left leaning in politics, and some of that is probably their artistic license. Also my thoughts on this topic are that in his time, the Patton Style Leadership was more pronounced, today leadership styles that are acceptable in a modern corporation are much more docile to deal with all the little snowflakes coming out of college. Further, the left has always hated the company and considers it evil, and will slander it’s brand whenever possible, that’s almost a given.
Regarding Ray Kroc’s leadership style and personal character; well, I believe most start-up style founders that break-out of the bureaucracy of regulations to hyperspace the competition to the next level, like Jobs, Branson, etc. are probably very smart, hard chargers, ego-centric, autocratic and do care about people but don’t let it get in their way of their goals. Is that bad? Hard to say, maybe it’s the innate reality of true leaders – for good or bad? Should we blame testosterone or the modern human evolutionary roots for this? Hard to say, but I refuse to trash Ray Kroc’s legacy, as he achieved greatness and made history in the United States.